Friday, February 15, 2013

Munificent Firenza!

With Valentine's Day having just turned the corner-- love, romance and adoration still permeate the air. This season, I'm fairly confident that the love offering of choice was boxed chocolates, fresh flowers and a Hallmark greeting card. However I'm sure that there a few lothario's left in the world that kept the fire of love burning by treating their partner to a romantic vacation.

Well I say we indulge our wild side, and stay fresh on the heels of these Casanovas by astonishing our heartthrob with a whirlwind trip to one of Italy's most beautiful cities, Florence. Considered the birthplace of Renaissance and the capital of the Tuscany region of Italy, Florence (Firenza) is a must-see tourist destination for the romantic as well as the sophisticated traveler.

Florence is a diverse city... distinguished for its medieval culture as well as a multitude of museums, historical landmarks and stunning cathedrals. You can go just about anywhere in the Tuscany Region of Italy and bask in the scenic beauty and tranquil countryside.

Getting There

When visiting Italy-- Look to Rome as your jumping off point... Train service is not only the most popular form of travelling around, but is safe, punctual and comfortable. If you are diligent you can uncover travel rates from Rome to Florence, as low as $27 USD but more than likely plan on spending $61 for a one way fare.

Another quick heads up-- Book your travel ahead of schedule and through the official accredited Italian Rail website. Be advised, there are several imitation 'Euro Rail' websites that will gladly take your money as well as tack in an additional fee of $10 to $20 dollars in the process.

Keep in mind... over ninety percent of trains run on time, so be sure to arrive at the train depot at least 15 minutes before your departure. It is easy to get lost in the moment of taking in one more sight-seeing opportunity and push back your start time a costly couple of valuable hours.

Hotel Aldini

Florence is a city steeped in history so be sure to get on-board and book your reservations at a hotel drenched in old world charm... The Hotel Aldini's building, in the Adimari's Tower, is said to date back to the 13th century and offers fabulous architecture in a medieval- style elegance.

When traveling throughout Europe, I generally chose a hotel for its location and skip all the 'hoity-toity...' Opting instead for a room that is clean, reasonably priced and centrally located. Let's not delude ourselves, after a full day of sight-seeing and marching up and down endless cobblestone streets when you get back to your room it is simply for rest and relaxation.

The Hotel Aldini's guest rooms are uncomplicated with a elegant Florentine-style touch, very quiet, and equipped with an in-suite bathroom. Rates include a continental breakfast, all taxes, and maid service for an average of €85 (Euro) per night.

Florence Cathedrals

Door of Paradise

One of the oldest building in Cathedral Square is the Baptistery of San Giovanni, renowned for its ten distinctive bronze quatrefoil sections depicting the life of John the Baptist. A top visitor attraction in Florence, The Baptistery is believed to have been constructed in the 5th or 6th century. This building was meant to last, with the rudimentary architectural design dating from the earliest ages of Christianity.

The Duomo

The relatively young (in terms of Florentine chronology) Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral is a paltry eight hundred years old and certainly celebrated as one of the most magnificent cathedrals in Europe. This impressive Gothic cathedral complex is known for its distinctive Renaissance dome, stunning frescos and ornate stained glass windows.

Fearless visitors can climb the 463 steps of the narrowing and spiral staircase to the top of the dome. The breath-taking vistas of Florence and the Tuscany countryside prove worthy of the effort... Not to mention witnessing an awe-inspiring view of the gothic fresco depicting 'Dante's Inferno,' from the slender terrace at the top of the dome..

Plan on paying an eight € (Euro) admission fee to ascend the cavernous stairwell.

Chianti Hills

Now that you've experience firsthand all the sights the city of Florence has to offer it is time to venture into the famous Tuscan Hills and the birthplace of Chianti wine. This guided tour takes you to the small, sleepy community of Greve and on and into the Tuscan countryside. Along the way you will visit a Franciscan monastery, a charming wine cellar, and share an authentic Italian lunch with the locals.

Your charming, debonair host will give you a comprehensive understanding of the area's heritage, the local produce, and the Chianti wine-making process. Although only 20 miles from Florence, this Tuscany day trip has a fun, off the beaten track vibe, and is an excursion you won't soon forget--

Piazza Santa Maria Novella

With all these concrete city streets and cobblestone walkways your feet will most assuredly appreciate a welcome respite. So take in a little grass and flowers as you share a park bench with the locals at this open-air park. The Piazza Santa Maria Novella is an attractive city square conveniently located directly from the church of Santa Maria Novella and is closed off from traffic.

However, be sure not to let the laid back nature of this grassy oasis fool you-- pick-pockets abound. Mark Twain once quipped, 'They examine passports on the Italian frontier for fear an honest man may slip in...' Although this certainly is a humorists point of view with the vast majority of Italians being fun loving and kind-hearted souls-- still don't let your guard down and let a petty thief spoil your enchanting vacation wherever you may roam.

Trattoria al Trebbio

Located in the historic center just of few steps from Piazza Santa Maria Novella is a warm and inviting Italian restaurant, Trattoria al Trebbio. Enjoy a unique fine dining experience that combines a cozy atmosphere with savory and traditional Tuscan dishes.

Feel yourself begin to unwind once you walk through the doors of this welcoming and friendly Italian restaurant . Trattoria al Trebbio is an unforgettable experience of authentic Italian cooking... serving up the finest traditional dishes of Florence. Delight in award-winning cuisine and savor mouth-watering Italian specialties prepared daily for your dining pleasure. Experience the bona-fide joy of great pasta intermingled with an ideal bottle of Chianti wine.

The Trattoria al Trebbio offers a complete range of vino from all over Tuscany and Italy. Also, save room for the homemade dessert fare that is presented nostalgically on a push cart.

No comments:

Post a Comment